Last month we had sign and graphic experts come to visit us at our centre. They spent a week with us working side by side watching and helping as we created sign and graphic solutions for our clients. With their experience and knowledge of industry best practices, they were able to coach us on some key improvement opportunities.
It’s not always easy to hear that you’re doing something wrong, let me tell you. Going into the week, Dan and I were committed to staying open minded and to listening hard to the feedback. There were some minor moments of resistance and defensiveness, but overall, I think we did ok.
We were also committed to taking action and implementing change. One of the things I love about running your own business is that you are the decision maker and can move quickly. Dan and I are fortunate — we have a really solid team who were fully vested in the week and helped us to consider and implement all the changes. It would have been a lot more difficult if we didn’t have them on our side.
We adopted many of the recommendations on the spot or in the weeks following. Since the visit, we’ve reduced waste, improved process efficiencies and accelerated our production times. All this goes right to our bottom line! We have seen an immediate step up in our gross margins.
Image360 is a franchise and as such we were able to take advantage of the franchise’s expertise. That’s one of the reasons we decided to own a franchise and why Image360 in particular. If you own a small business — not a franchise — who’s coaching you? I have a friend from my business networking group, Allan Grant who owns Standfast Consulting; they offer business consulting services. Last week we were talking and Allen shared the story of one of his clients who improved their processes and increased their sales by 25% in one year.
Whether you have franchise resources like us, or access to a business coach like Allan— I can’t say enough about the value of taking a time out and looking for opportunities. The return on the investment of your effort is staggering and it doesn’t have to be difficult!
Someone remind me this time next year that I should take a step back, consult an expert and look for improvement opportunities — it’s worth making this an annual event!
Emma and Dan